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Dear Southdowns Parents                                                                       

Although the year is well under way I would like to wish you all a prosperous and happy 2016. I trust that your year at Southdowns College will be a very enjoyable one.

We have had a smooth start to the year with the pupils being taught on day one and in many instances homework being given at the outset. I would like to thank the administrative and academic staff for their hard work in producing a working timetable. The school facilities are in excellent condition, thanks to the facilities supervisor, Tim Odendaal and his team.

We were very proud, as a school, of our matric class of 2015, which achieved a 100% pass rate. There was an 82% matriculation endorsement among the group. A matric endorsement entitles a pupil to apply for a tertiary course at a university. Our top pupil was Karsten Seeger who achieved nine distinctions and was placed eighth in all of the ADvTECH schools in the country. This includes, amongst others, all of the Crawford schools. Jamie-Ann Geary and Tamaryn-Rose Robinson both excelled with eight distinctions each. We received much positive media coverage at the time for our results. We wish our current 2016 matric group everything of the best as they embark upon their final year.

New Staff:

We welcome nine new staff members onto our staff at Southdowns College:

Mr Erik Prinsloo – HOD Afrikaans Department

Ms Dalit Segal- School Psychologist

Ms Irene Bartlett – Visual Arts

Mr Brian Bothelezi – Mathematics

Mr Thero Modisagae – History

Ms Michelle Joubert – Director of Hockey (Boys and Girls).

Ms Steph du Toit – EMS replacement for Mrs Pretorius on maternity leave

Ms Ester van der Walt – replacement for the incoming English teacher at the end of the term

Ms Zoey Mncwango – ADvTECH intern for isiZulu.   

I am sure that you will soon get to know them and we wish them well as they make a positive contribution to the academic, cultural and sporting life of our school.

Parents’ Association:

We have already had our first PA meeting, at which the new committee was elected for the year ahead. Congratulations to Tjaart Van Der Walt on his appointment as the 2016 chairperson. He will be sending a letter to all high school parents pertaining to the first parent association function of the year, which is set to take place on the 12th   of February.

Communication:

With the start of the year there is always much communication between the staff and pupils as well as between the school and the parents. We have distributed our year planner which we will do our utmost to adhere to. We have, in the past, sent out a very detailed weekly planner which essentially replicates the year planner and contains some information that is not relevant to parents.  We meet, as staff, on Friday mornings to review the week ahead and I have asked Mrs Nel to note the very important events and possible adjustments to times of matches and meetings and to e-mail only those relevant details to parents. We have implemented a strong drive at school for the pupils to take full responsibility for finding out when practices and events will be held. Noticeboards will be fully utilised, such as the board outside the sports office, where the full sports training programme is displayed. We are fine tuning the structure of the weekly e-mail that is sent, so please bear with us as the format will change a little from week to week.

Ms Shelley Carroll has been appointed to the position of acting marketing manager of  Centurus Colleges and other ADvTECH school groups. We are very proud of her and her achievement and extend our good wishes to her in the new position.  We will still occasionally see her at school in her new capacity. It has become a default response of many parents to e-mail Ms Carroll in reply to the various e-mails sent out by the school. She will no longer be in a position to reply to these e-mails. In future, please address any e-mail correspondence to the following address if you are not sure who the recipient should be: admin@southdownscollege.co.za. The e-mail will be forwarded to the relevant person for a response within a reasonable time.

Wednesday Cultural Hour:

Please note that the Wednesday cultural hour is not compulsory, as we feel that it should be attended out of a desire to learn and to contribute towards the school. The various activities on offer will grow in time and we encourage all pupils to begin attending one or more of the numerous cultural groups. At present the offering includes: drama, dance, art and music in all of their various forms. Some other activities which will also take place are: a club that will debate TED talk topics after watching various clips, a science club, chess and public speaking. As teachers settle into the year, we are expecting further clubs and cultural groups to be established.

Grade Sevens:

Last Thursday we welcomed the new grade seven group into the high school. It was obvious that they were proud to ring the bell and to announce their arrival. I addressed the school today on the need for a positive hierarchy within the school where the junior pupil is mentored and feels safe from any verbal or physical abuse. I believe that the matric pupil is to be respected by the junior pupils but that the respect is to be earned through servant leadership. There is no place in our school for respect on demand.

This newsletter is the first of many that I will send out when I feel that certain matters need to be raised and addressed with the parents. Thank you for your ongoing support of the staff and the school. Please feel free to correspond with them via e-mail, phone calls or visits.

I wish you and your families a happy first term.

 

Kind regards

Mark Smith

Principal   

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